What’s initially surprising (though, with a bit of thought, bloody obvious; mostly because we knew it really - Ed) is that ‘It’s Blitz!’ is actually just the third full-length from Karen O and co. A scattering of EPs so good at a distance they felt like albums give the aura of a band with a repertoire far larger, but regardless, nobody can accuse them of a lack of quality control.
In fact, when presented a track like album opener ‘Zero’, any such claims would be enough for a one way trip to the loony bin. Pulsing, dark and satisfyingly different, it’s both exactly what you’d expect from Yeah Yeah Yeahs and entirely different at the same time; one of those tracks that, with great big neon arrows, points out exactly what we’d forgotten we’d been missing. When compared with this, the Ladyhawkes of this world seem to be little more than a mildly entertaining fringe in a lumberjack shirt, filling a void until a real iconic woman could take centre stage.
Giving all the credit to Miss O would be foolish in the extreme, mind. Guitarist Nick Zinner and that-drummer-that-reminds-us-of-Igor-from-Ghostbusters Brian Chase create platforms that turn her distinctive vocal stylings into something all together different. ‘Heads Will Roll’ sounds a bit like a Yeah Yeah Yeahs remix, a bit like something approaching perfection, but entirely like something immeasurably huge. On the other hand ‘Skeletons’ is beautifully, hairs-on-back-of-neck fragile, turning into some kind of ethereal march by its climax, while Hysteric is approaching dream pop, if such a thing exists, with its woozy, fuzzy chorus.
To say ‘It’s Blitz!’ is their best album to date is no slight on previous offerings. Here is a coherent yet varied slice of utter brilliance that reminds us exactly what happens when a band is able to develop in the fringes of the mainstream without many of the constant expectations that go with it. Sure, some of us may forget about how great Yeah Yeah Yeahs are when they’re away, but each time they come back better to remind exactly why they remain an indescribable cut above so many of their peers.
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